Oh to Sew

The Daily Prompt asks:Tell us about a talent you’d love to have… but don’t.

pattern2

I wish I could follow a pattern and sew my own clothes. To walk the aisles in the fabric store, and choose exactly the color and texture I want. Then pick out the perfect buttons to match. It would be a perfect fit. The perfect length. Exactly what I wanted. But sadly, it will never be. I just cannot get my head around those patterns.

My mother was an amazing “sewer.” She made most of my clothes from age 8 to about 11. Our dining room table was often covered with patterns and fabrics, and the sewing machine was the kind hidden in a table, so it could stay in a corner of the room and then be closed up to look a piece of furniture. I often had the same dress in different fabrics. I remember one that I had in pink and white gingham. It had a capped ruffled sleeve with white rick rack on the edges. Then she made it again in a floral- the background was royal blue and it had red and white tiny tulips all over it. This time the sleeves were trimmed in red rick rack. My best friend told me she was crazy jealous for those dresses at the time. She informed me of this when we were already in our 30’s. Those dresses had made a big impression on her. Her mother was a “working mother” which in those days was still a bit unusual. She longed for the mother who could stay at home and sew. Meanwhile for me, I thought nothing of the fact that my mother was whipping up new dresses and skirts like nobody’s business. Here I am with my sister on the first day of school in 1967, wearing dresses my mother made (and a matching kerchief)

firstdayofschooldresses

I had to take sewing when I was in 8th grade. It was an exercise in futility. I could not make any sense of the pattern. The bias of the fabric was a complete mystery to me. How to lay which part of the fabric on that pattern also a great challenge. We were supposed to make a skirt, with a waistband. And a zipper. I can remember the fabric distinctly as I think it was such a traumatic event for me it is ingrained in my brain forever. Oh and did I mention the skirt was supposed to fit me? Finally, after getting plenty of use out of my seam ripper, my mother stepped in to help. She was not the type to just say, “Okay, I’ll finish it for you.” She helped me repin it, and set the zipper in as it was supposed be set in, and I think she finally did finish most of that dreaded waistband. I remember being able to barely squish myself into it. And barely passed.

The possibilities seem endless when imagining the things I could create, but I have accepted that it is just not in the cards for me. Which is a good thing for Lord & Taylor and Macy’s.

31 thoughts on “Oh to Sew

  1. The dresses are beautiful – your mother was a good tailor. My mother is a designer/seamstress and she tried to teach me, but I refused to learn anything. I now wish I had learnt because I have Zambian chitenge (traditional) material that needs to be worked on and I have no clue with what to do. I used to go to the tailor when I lived home and now I am stuck.

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  2. Ditto ditto ditto. I didn’t appreciate how beautiful the clothing my mother made for me really was until I got older and started buying my own. I tried sewing. I was simply awful at it.

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  3. Thank you for sharing this post and taking me down memory lane! I loved sewing when I was a teen. Both my grandmothers were amazing seamstresses, and they each taught me how to sew my doll clothes. By junior high and a home econ class later, I sewed a lot of things. When I turned 18, my grandmother got me a new portable sewing machine (I still have it after all these years, but it is non-repairable). I made a lot of my own clothes, sewed a few Halloween costumes and made some renaissance faire clothes.

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  4. When I was young, my mother sewed. I still remember going into the fabric stores with her and sorting the buttons in the button box she kept. It’s a lost art.

    And it goes without saying, but must be said nonetheless, the photo is perfect. Just perfect.

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  5. I so agree with you… I will support the stores for the rest of my life… it’s a mission impossible for me to wear something what I made with my own hands :o) I once entered a sewing class, but I was such a hopeless case that this humorless ole bat who ran that class kicked me out after two lessons there :o) … maybe it was a little overdone to pop up there with a fashion magazine and to claim, that I want to copy the chew-nell dress I saw there immediately? LOL

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  6. I would love to sew. I can read a pattern and have a few times (but not in this century!). My problem is that I don’t like to read or follow directions. I like to look at something and then just do it. I have no patience for laying out the fabric and the pattern and paying close attention to the directions.

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  7. I thought I would save myself alterations charges and hem my own pants. I should have thought a lot harder about it. My mom didn’t sew and neither do it–it’s a tradition I handed down to my daughter! 😀

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  8. Believe it or not, I can sew anything and everything when it comes to home decor. I have a gift, can eyeball things and copy without a pattern. I don’t touch clothes…not for the life of me. My husband wants a zipper in his jeans…well too bad 🙂

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  9. Such a cute photo of the two of you. After the war years, when money was tight, my mom used to make all our clothes. She taught me how to sew, and for many years, I was an avid seamstress, making clothes for myself and my daughter, as well as sewing curtains, but not any more. It hardly seems worth it as clothes are now so plentiful and inexpensive in the stores.

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